FCA under investigation for fraud by FBI, SEC, and DOJ

The US Justice Department is currently in the initial stages of investigating Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for fraud, according to two anonymous sources that spoke with Bloomberg. According to the unnamed sources, prosecutors are examining whether FCA violated US securities laws. As part of a coordinated investigation into FCA's sales reporting practices, investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission visited the automaker's field staff in their offices and homes earlier this month, reports Automotive News.

According to an anonymous source that spoke to Automotive News, federal staff attorneys visited FCA's US headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI on July 11. The unnamed source told the outlet that employees were advised to seek counsel before speaking with investigators. Investigators also visited the automaker's offices in Dallas, California, and Orlando, the unnamed source told Automotive News.

The investigation comes after FCA claimed it had recorded the best month of sales in the US in the automaker's history in December with a total of 217,527 vehicles sold, reports Bloomberg. The claim now seems untrustworthy. According to a previous report from Automotive News, a Chicago-based dealership group filed a lawsuit against FCA earlier this year. The suit accused the automaker of paying dealers to fake new-vehicle sales. At the time, the automaker claimed the allegations were baseless and had no merit. After the lawsuit, FCA started to add an extended disclaimed at the end of its monthly sales reports, according to Automotive News.

In a statement, FCA claimed that the automaker is cooperating with the SEC investigation and pointed out that it records "revenues based on shipments to dealers and customers, not on reported vehicle unit sales to end customers." We'll have more on the investigation as it unfolds.

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